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December 29, 2017

Tre'Quan Smith

Otis Anderson

Wyatt Miller

Jordan Akins

Atlanta, Georgia

THE MODERATOR: Now we've got Tre'Quan Smith, Jordan Akins, Wyatt Miller and Otis Anderson. We'll just start with an opening statement from each of you.

Tre'Quan, let's talk about what's your bowl week experience been like so far and are you guys settling in?

TRE'QUAN SMITH: So far, this bowl experience has been great. A lot of events we went to was lovely. The atmosphere was great, and just being able to walk in Mercedes-Benz Stadium is an unbelievable experience. You know, being there and getting acclimated to everything is just unbelievable that we got the experience to be here.

THE MODERATOR: Jordan, talk about your experience at the Martin Luther King Center last night. What was that like for the team?

JORDAN AKINS: It's great. It's not my first time. I'm from Georgia.

THE MODERATOR: You've been?

JORDAN AKINS: Yeah, I've been before. It was a humbling experience, and, you know to, learn some history by MLK and we really enjoyed it. We really enjoyed it.

THE MODERATOR: Wyatt, talk about Mercedes-Benz Stadium. You've practiced a couple times. What's it like being in there?

WYATT MILLER: It's kind of distracting when you walk in there and you look and there's the huge screens all around.

But it's unreal. Growing up a Falcons fan, it's something you dream about growing up, playing in an NFL stadium where one of your favorite teams played. Like Tre'Quan said, it's an unbelievable experience walking in and playing on a stage like that and being in front of so many people. We're excited about it and just can't wait.

THE MODERATOR: Otis, I'll ask you about the Battle For Bowl Week. You're tied 1-1 with Auburn, it's pretty tight. It's fairly serious. Are you guys locked in on that so far?

OTIS ANDERSON: Yeah, we're going to win that belt, so we're going to do everything we can to win. Last night they got us, but I think we're going to win the rest of them.

THE MODERATOR: You're going out with that, you're going to win out?

OTIS ANDERSON: Yeah, I like that belt. We've got to win out.

THE MODERATOR: Good deal, guys. Thanks for that.

Q. Tre'Quan, looked it up, you set 48 new records this year. This season, when you look back at it, what kind of experience and how much fun has the ride been?
TRE'QUAN SMITH: I didn't even know at the beginning that we set that many records. But as a whole, when everything is clicking and the offense rolling, you know, you don't know -- you don't know what kind of game it is. You just know everything is fun. You don't think about the stats. You just think about playing.

When that's said and everything's been done, you just think about the team connection and the team bond, and then you don't look back at the stats. Like I said, like, I didn't even know that. It just shows you when everything is going and everything clicking, you know, what this offense can do.

Q. Losing Aaron Evans for this game, how has that changed the strategy that the line has, because this is a very strong defensive front seven from Auburn.
WYATT MILLER: I don't think it's changed strategy much, but we have somebody different stepping in. When you play as an offensive line, there's five guys and those five have to play as one. And that's something that we've been working on these past couple weeks is kind of getting that mesh and getting used to playing besides somebody new.

I think we've done a good job of coming together these past couple weeks and learning how each other plays. As far as just--- one new person, you know, it's different when you put somebody else in there.

We know we've got a tough challenge up ahead, but I think we've put enough work in and we're continuing to work; we're excited about the challenge.

Q. Otis, being one of the younger players on the roster, how have some of those fifth-year seniors that have seen the highs in 2013 helped you grow in getting into the mind-set of this game?
OTIS ANDERSON: A lot of the fifth-year seniors just told me just to take a look at everything and just get the jitters out of the way during practice.

During the season, everything was pretty much coming fast, especially for a freshman. So talking to Tre'Quan and different players that have been playing a lot over the couple years, they told me just to take everything one step at a time and just do what you can with the ball. I believe I've been doing that well. My team believes in me lot for me to be able to even do that in consecutive games, and that means a lot to me.

Q. When you look at tape of Auburn's defense, what do you see from those guys, specifically from the linebackers?
JORDAN AKINS: Physical. They are very physical. They play downhill. They make plays in open space. You know, they are athletes. They are probably the best that we're going to face this year. I mean, we're looking forward to going against them.

OTIS ANDERSON: I believe that their linebackers fill the gaps pretty quickly, so just being able to -- we have to make moves very quickly and just do what we can to get extra yards and fight for extra yards. They are great athletes and they are the best defense that we have faced.

So their line, their defensive line, helps the linebackers a lot as far as filling gaps and getting to where they need to be and helping out.

Q. The perfect season; what would it mean for you guys to finish it off, and how difficult has it been to even get to 12-0?
WYATT MILLER: Well, obviously, 12-0 so far has been great. This is stuff you dream about, perfect seasons and whatnot.

We're just excited to have this opportunity to even be in this spot. You know, it's extremely difficult to become 12-0 and to win every week. And you know what, that's what we've focused on every week. You take it week-by-week and you don't think about the next game or whatnot. You focus on the opponent that week. You know, it's going to be a challenge this week to be 1-0. That's always our goal is to come out of every week 1-0. We've been successful so far this year, and we want to finish it out strong.

But like I said, it's an unbelievable accomplishment to be 12-0 so far, and we're looking forward to having another opportunity to be 1-0. It's something you dream about, that's for sure.

Q. For any of y'all, what's the most interesting concept, tactic, or play that an opponent has tried to do to slow y'all down this season?
TRE'QUAN SMITH: Personally, I see a lot of teams try to keep the ball out of our offense's hands because you know, our offense is a non-huddle and we like to go fast. So a lot of teams will slow the clock down in their favor, you know, with the offense, by running the ball and trying to hike the ball at the last second.

So that's what I see, other teams' offense like to hold the ball and not give our offense the ball.

JORDAN AKINS: I'll agree with what Tre' said. You know, some of them try to play double -- I would say double-team some of us, which opened up a lot of other players, like for Otis and the other players, Gabe Davis. They have been great this year stepping up when they locked down me or Tre' a couple times.

I would say coming off the line as a tight end, they get more physical. They are trying to bump me and reroute me, as well as the linebackers. But the major key is really they try to keep the ball out of our hands like Tre'Quan said.

WYATT MILLER: You know, we have some fast guys, and probably the craziest thing that I've seen so far is when we played USF. They took out their two inside linebackers and put, in, I don't know if they were nickel guys or whatever, just to be able to keep up with our backs. I've actually never seen that before. I think it was a pretty good technique. But I think that was probably the craziest thing I've seen so far.

And like these guys said, just keeping the ball out of our hands and huddling and going slow. You know what, you get bored over there on the sideline when you don't go out for ten minutes and whatnot. It was like the Navy game. We felt like we were on the sideline forever. They try a lot to slow us down.

OTIS ANDERSON: I believe what Wyatt said. That's probably the craziest thing I saw this year, putting in two DBs instead of their best two linebackers. Just being able to stay up with our running backs and the routes out of the backfield and different things like that, I believe that was probably the craziest thing that I would see in college football, just to stop our offense.

Q. Your cohort generated some headlines by saying that Auburn has never seen the speed of himself and you at running back. What were your thoughts when you first saw that?
OTIS ANDERSON: I don't think he was just speaking for us. I think he was just speaking as a team as a whole. Our defense swarms to the ball, and we have a lot of fast players. I believe that's what he was trying to say.

But I don't think he was just saying that we were just faster than everybody that they played against. We have speed. Every college football team has speed. It's just that we play at a fast pace, and I think that's the difference of what he was trying to say and what people think that he was trying to say.

THE MODERATOR: See, he was just misunderstood. That's all it was.

OTIS ANDERSON: He was just misunderstood.

WYATT MILLER: He's a pretty fast guy. You know, I might be a little faster than him, but I think he can say that. He is, he's pretty quick, somewhat. (Laughter).

Q. This can really go to any of you. Not having a bye week all season long after the first game, what did you do to maintain your health, your mental strength and not lose that energy during the season?
WYATT MILLER: The coaches have done a really good job all season of taking care of our bodies and if that means switching up practice -- after practice Coach Duval requires us to get in the cold tub, and the cold tub has been extremely cold this week. So that's something we do every day. You either get in the cold tub, or different activities.

But Coach Frost and his staff has done a great job of keeping us healthy and keeping us strong physically throughout the season. 11 weeks in a row, that's a long haul and that's a tough haul, and I feel like they have done a great job. If you don't take those precautions, you don't take care of your players, at this point we wouldn't be 12-0. It shows that what they have done throughout the season has helped us get here and take care of our bodies.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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